EuroBasket 2013: Lithuania advances despite loss to Bosnia and Herzegovina

Jan. 18, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets power forward Mirza Teletovic (33) dribbles around Atlanta Hawks power forward Mike Scott (32) during the first half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

After winning three of their first four games, Lithuania, featuring Donatas Motiejunas (Houston Rockets) and Jonas Valanciunas (Toronto Raptors), suffered through a true nailbiter in the final game against Bosnia and Herzegovina. To advance to the next round, Lithuania could even afford to lose, but by no more than 10 points, something that seemed highly improbable before the clash.

The game was extremely close, with Bosnia looking a little sharper. However, in the second half Mirza Teletovic of the Brooklyn Nets really got going and burned Lithuania with incredible shots. Once Teletovic hit a three-pointer around four steps beyond the three-point line, Lithuania found themselves down 58:72. All of a sudden, it was a fight for survival, with the score essentially being 0:4 at that point, with the winning team advancing in the tournament.

Neither Motiejunas nor Valanciunas had a good game, and so Lithuania eventually turned to a familiar face for answers – Linas Kleiza. Despite missing two free throws towards the end of the game, Kleiza hit two huge three-pointers to swing the momentum back in his team’s favor. In the end, Lithuania lost but walked away with a ticket to the next round.

Kleiza led Lithuania with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Teletovic scored 31 and grabbed seven rebounds for Bosnia. Motiejunas and Valanciunas played eight and seven minutes respectively, combining for two points.

On Wednesday Lithuania will take on Tony Parker and France.

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